Finance for Freelancers – Book Review
If you are new to freelancing or your idea of bookkeeping is a pile of paper scraps that you keep jammed in the back of your desk, then Rockable Press’s latest book, Finance for Freelancers, will make for valuable reading.
The truth of the matter is, most of us could care less when it comes to the questions of finance in our freelance business. Isn’t bookkeeping just something to put off until that sick feeling in your stomach forces you to do a marathon session of filling, itemizing, balancing, and…I think I’m going to be sick.
I mean even look at the word “bookkeeping”. It’s just begging for a hyphen and there it is just sitting there looking stupid with its double k’s. It’s just so smug.
Well, there’s good news on the horizon! You no longer have to be a bookkeeping bigot like myself. Author Martha Retallick is here to save your bacon with a little Finance 101 in her book: Finance for Freelancers. This book is designed to help introduce new freelancers to the wide world of managing your business’ money. And for those dragging their heels, the book will deliver a swift kick in the freelance derrière.
Truth be told, a lot of creative freelancers don’t like to deal with the financial side of their businesses. This aversion to accounting can lead to bills stacking up, checking accounts going unbalanced, invoices not being sent, and clients not paying.
Martha goes step by step through the basics on setting up your business with a solid accounting foundation. From bookkeeping to picking out an accountant, the book will give you a great introduction to some of the things you should be thinking about, and the areas you’re going to want to address so that you don’t find yourself buried under a mountain of paperwork, or even worse, a mountain of debt.
The Joys of Getting Paid Promptly
I like getting paid. In fact, if all my job consisted of was me getting paid, I think I’d be a happy camper. And I don’t think I have to stretch my imagination to guess that all freelancers have a particular fondness to wrapping up a project and getting the final payment. We all need income to run our business, but getting paid is not always as simple as sending out an invoice.
That’s why Finance for Freelancers dedicates an entire chapter to the art of not only getting paid, but getting paid promptly. That’s a whole different skill set.
One of the easiest ways to run into freelancing trouble is when the money isn’t coming in fast enough. And, sad to say, the blame for some of this trouble often lies with the freelancer.
Your business needs cash flow. And part of being a successful freelancer is not only making sure we have enough billable hours to stay afloat, but also making sure those billable hours get paid for in a timely manner. While big numbers look great on invoices and accounting printouts, they won’t magically turn into beer and skittles without you being there to collect on them.
This can get particularly difficult when you throw subcontractors into the mix. Finance for Freelancers goes over some good ground rules for how to best work with subcontractors and how you can make sure you’re not left holding the bag if a client goes south on you.
The secret to managing big projects is to stop viewing yourself as a one-man band. Those days are over. You’re a symphony conductor now. And, like real-life conductors, you may have to work out conflicts between subcontractors.
I’m sorry I had to bring this up, and I know you don’t want to talk about it, but taxes don’t seem to be going away anytime soon. There will always be that dreaded time of year when we are all huddled up in dusty rooms trying to account for expenditures and liabilities, and let’s face it; we’d probably all rather be outside, or dead.
Like it or not, we all need a plan for taxes. And Finance for Freelancers recommends getting proactive with your taxes. In a lot of cases, this means finding and hiring a good accountant. For several years I thought I could be a cheapskate and just buy a tax program and do it myself. And while that does work for some freelancers, it meant a whole heap of stress for me every year. Last year I just hired an accountant and let them do their thing. I have not regretted that decision.
Sorry to break the news to you, but you can’t claim your cat as a business expense on your tax return. She may be your most trusted business confidante, but her food and vet’s bills just aren’t deductible.
Martha will help you look at how to find a freelance-friendly accountant and give you suggestions on how to start a program for saving for the tax season. After all, paying for taxes is no fun, but it is so much worse when you have no savings to pay them with.
While this book won’t turn you into a chartered accountant, it introduces you to all the areas you need to focus on when trying to run your freelance business successfully. Martha even includes an exhaustive list of book recommendations for further study if you really want to kick your freelance finances into high gear.
The eBook Finance for Freelancers is available from Rockable Press for $15.